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Movie Review: 'Captain America: Civil War' (2016)


Minor spoilers should be expected.

Captain America: Civil War is the sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the thirteenth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, while it's screenplay is written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. It's produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney.

It takes place after the most recent MCU movies, which were Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, with the former being one of the major impacts to the plot of Civil War.

While by the name you may expect that Captain America: Civil War is based on the majorly acclaimed 'Civil War' comic series, it is, however, not. The movie takes the basic concept of the comic series, which was the 'Superhuman Registration Act', called the 'Sokovia Accords' in the movie, and the start of a Civil War due to difference of opinions regarding the act among the heroes. The movie, instead, features a much smaller scale of the event, and the civil war isn't much of a civil war, but just two teams of heroes fighting each other, and unlike the comics, this time with a personal reason for Captain America and manipulation from the antagonist Zemo.

The movie features an assemble cast of several Avengers, with their respective actors reprising their roles, featuring Steve Rogers/Captain America(Chris Evans), Tony Stark/Iron-Man(Robert Downey, Jr.), James Rhodes/War Machine(Don Cheadle), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow(Scarlett Johansson), Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch(Elizabeth Olsen), Sam Wilson/Falcon(Anthony Mackie), and Vision(Paul Bettany). Then the already big cast gets further expanded with Sharon Carter(Emily VanCamp), Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier(Sebastian Stan), Clint Barton/Hawkeye(Jeremy Renner), Scott Lang/Ant-Man(Paul Rudd), with Spider-Man(Tom Holland) and T'Challa/Black Panther(Chadwick Boseman) making their debut in the MCU.

The antagonists include Brock Rumlow/Crossbones(Frank Grillo), although only a short role, and Helmut Zemo(Daniel Brühl), who makes his debut.

Looking at the cast really makes you wonder how it's a Captain America movie, instead of Avengers or simply 'Civil War'. The movie, however, surprisingly handles all the characters very well, and while it does feel like many of them were simply a cameo, it still gave them enough screen time for you to be satisfied with their presence, so there's certainly a kudos to the team for handling it so well. The debut of the characters was also handled greatly and Black Panther and Spider-man definitely steal the show, with Tom Holland's Spider-man being arguably the most accurately best Peter Parker and Spider-man we've seen on screen so far.

Iron-Man, along with War Machine

The movie starts off one year after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and first we see a flashback of one of the Winter Soldier's missions under Hydra, and then we are back into the present where Captain America, Wanda(Scarlet Witch), Black Widow, and Falcon are on a mission to stop Crossbones from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. While they successfully stop Crossbones from stealing the weapon, the mission goes wrong and the Avengers make a mistake, which ends up accidently killing some Wakandan humanitarian workers.

Then we are taken into the life of Tony Stark briefly, and we learn that the civilian deaths that occur inbetween their battles are taking a toll on him, which is one of the major points that drive him towards what side he takes.

The United Nations prepare to pass the 'Sokovia Accords'(the Superhuman registration act), which is approved by over 117 countries, which came into being after the events of New York, Sokovia and Lagos. This is where the conflict arises as Tony Stark believes that the heroes are no better than the villains if they cannot accept limitations, while Steve Rogers fears that this would be a bad thing, due to the limits, the side effects of being forced to give up your secret identities, and the fear that they could become the pawns of the governments. This eventually causes the Avengers to split into two teams, one that is led by Tony Stark, who is pro-registration act, while the anti-registration act team is led by Steve Rogers, thus the 'Civil War', however, unlike the comics, this time it's person for Steve Rogers because the Winter Soldier is framed for an attack on the king of Wakanda, thus the government issues shoot-to-kill orders for Bucky.

William Hurt reprises his role as Thaddeus Ross.

This eventually leads to the two teams conflicting, Tony Stark trying to bring the rogue Avengers in, while Steve Rogers is protecting his friend and what he believes to be the right of the heroes to retain their freedom.

The movie has some decent action sequences, with the airport battle scene being the best, not in the movie, but also among the best action scenes we've seen in comic book movies in a while. The scene also features Spider-man's debut in the costume, as well as in action, and he definitely steals the show, while Ant-Man also lights up the atmosphere with his odd behavior even in a serious scene, while we also see a further display of Black Panther's strength.

The movie's second best scene, could arguably be the final battle between Captain America, Iron-Man and the Winter Soldier, which is a bit emotional as well, although may seem like just a fight to the average viewer, it does hold emotional depth for the fans. Unfortunately, though, it is not on the same bar that was set by the airport scene, and you may feel a little underwhelmed for the finale.

While the massive cast of the movie may have you worried, it's handled very well, better than Age of Ultron without a doubt. The movie also had more plots than one, and also managed to hand it well, while being easy to understand and did not leave the less-researched audience on the mercy of prequel comics, a mistake Batman v. Superman made.

The movie also does a great job with the build-up and nothing felt rushed. Although it fails to deliver with it's antagonist, Helmut Zemo. After seeing giant organizations, aliens and Gods, it just feels underwhelming to see a simple man with no powers manipulating the Avengers a bit, not even entirely(as the Sokovia Accords would have come into being anyways considering the damage the Avengers have been leaving in their wake), and even the worst thing he triggers is not something he does so, but just reveals. While Daniel Brühl did a good job as an actor, Helmut Zemo just isn't as interesting a character to be featured as the primary antagonist in an Avengers movie in disguise.

One thing about the ending is the fact it doesn't really conclude anything, and does not really feel like an ending. What happens there is something that happens multiple times before in the movie too and it doesn't really make any new difference, and the antagonist being Zemo felt somewhat underwhelming to some of the audience because it takes too much thought to feel the affect of everything he causes, while the audience is used to huge villains threatening global safety and going down with a big fight.

While the marketing team of Captain America: Civil War is certainly much better than Batman v. Superman's, it did also reveal a bit too much in it's trailers, not as in spoiling the movie, but rather than the fact if you watched the main trailers(not counting the endless TV spots and randomly released clips), the first hour of the movie rather feels like an extended version of something you've already watched, as you'd know what scene would come up next on the build-up.

Talking about marketing, in one of their statements, the Russo brothers stated that Captain America: Civil War is a 'psychological thriller'. I have to say they're confused about genres, honestly.

Overall, Captain America: Civil War is a very enjoyable movie that keeps you hooked to the edge of your seat throughout the whole ride and is definitely one of the best works of the MCU, as well as comic book movies as a whole, and being the second superhero versus movie this year, this one definitely wins the competition. The movie is very well crafted and handles all the characters decently, as well as having a good plot and a decent screenplay definitely makes it worth your while, with all the actors giving a performance that lives up to the hype.

However, the movie is not without it's bad points, such as the antagonist that feels underwhelming, the final act not living up to the previous ones, and not really adding anything new to the table regarding character development of the existing heroes, which you would especially expect for Captain America at least, considering the fact this was supposed to be his movie, but in the end it's honestly just another Avengers film that is disguised as Captain America for some reason.

Final Verdict:

Captain America: Civil War is a 7.8 out of 10

Civil War lives up to the hype, and is definitely a must watch for all comic book fans out there. It's not without it's flaws, but it's good overshadows it by a great margin. Choose your side and choose your seat, because this is going to be among your fun experiences this year.


Muhammad Junaid

Muhammad Junaid is the writer of Entertainment Ghost. He writes articles, reviews, previews and entertainment news about gaming, technology, the media and so on. You can follow him on Twitter @Mr_MJunaid and Facebook MJunaid

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Published On Entertainment Ghost At Wednesday, May 11, 2016